Favourite Hong Kong restaurants of Jacqueline Lai, Hong Kong showjumper
A Lamma seafood restaurant to treat visitors, Tai Hang Vietnamese for a quick bite, Grappa’s Cellar for a post-competition risotto and Gitone Limited for a fancy dinner
Training in Europe, I’ve become accustomed to simple eating – rice, pasta or potatoes, a meat and a salad. But when I travel around for competitions I love to try new things. I love almost all cuisines, but good seafood is always my first pick.
In Hong Kong, my first choice is always a meal with family at the members’ club, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Bistro (Kellett Island, Causeway Bay, tel: 2239 0348). It’s tradition for us and everything on the menu is a score. They serve good local dishes as well as Western.
To satisfy my cravings for true Cantonese food, I like Lingnan Club (12/F-13/F, On Lok Yuen Building, 25-27A Des Voeux Road Central, tel: 2522 3339). It’s the style of cooking I miss when I’m abroad. I also love Japanese. Itacho Sushi (various locations, including shop L1-12B, Hong Kong MTR Station, Central, tel: 2536 9666) is my first choice for affordable fresh-tasting sushi. I also love good sashimi and soft-shell crab hand rolls.
I would take visitors to Rainbow Seafood Restaurant (23-25 First Street, Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island, tel: 2982 8100). The freshness is simply incomparable to anywhere else. Deep-fried squid in garlic, steamed shrimp, garlic prawns, soy sauce and ginger steamed fish, deep-fried “lai liu ha” (pissing prawns), a lot of fresh tasty greens to balance out the fried food and never without a bowl or two of rice. Living in Europe really teaches a Chinese person to appreciate a good bowl of rice.
For a fast bite, there’s a Vietnamese restaurant in Tai Hang called Café Locomotive (11 Wun Sha Street, Tai Hang, tel: 2882 8227). The pho is spot on, and you get it within five minutes of ordering. I also love food courts, particularly the one in Hysan Place. It has lots of good options. My favourite is the Korean stone pot rice at Kim’s Gourmet (Kitchen 11, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2506 3793).
During competition, I eat healthy, with plenty of carbs, dairy and protein. After the Hong Kong competition, I’ll probably eat at Grappa’s Cellar (Basement 1, Jardine House, 1 Connaught Place, Central, tel: 2521 2322). The one at Pacific Place is the one I grew up eating at so I’m sad it’s no longer there. But a good Italian risotto with a good wine in quiet and relaxed atmosphere and most importantly with good company, close family and friends is all I could wish for.
For a fancy dinner, I like Gitone Limited (shop GB-27-28, 45 Tai Hong Street, Lei King Wan, Sai Wan Ho, tel: 2527 3448). Located next to its own ceramics workshop, the kitchen is small, but the food is as superb as its presentation, very artistic and a lot of attention to detail without being over the top. The atmosphere is relaxed and the handmade tableware makes it a complete experience.
Jacqueline Lai will compete in the Longines Masters of Hong Kong from February 10 to 12